Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

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Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except two cats and a collection of finches, canaries and Rhode Island bantam hens.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Montsalvat, the Eltham artists' colony.

Every time I visit Montsalvat, I enjoy it more.  I've been there a few times in the past few years to view exhibitions, or just have coffee and cake with a friend.  I went there today with a friend who called me last night to tell me that the current exhibition was closing, so we should go and see it before we miss out. I'm so glad she called - it was a perfect day, the exhibitions were great, and the coffee and cake delicious!
The peacocks and peahens that roam the grounds are quite tame.  This poor fellow has been moulting and lost his tail, and all that is left is fluffy bits!

Not supposed to take photos of the exhibits, but I wanted to show this to Ken, as I'd like to buy it, but need his approval for the price ticket of nearly $800!

Some views of the buildings in the grounds of Montsalvat.





Saturday, March 14, 2015

New hens for the chookhouse.

Ken is slowly improving, but still has a lot of pain internally from the shingles, so is on strong pain killers, which make him drowsy.  So he has to wait until the effect wears off before he can drive, otherwise he just skips the medication so he can drive when fully alert, even if in pain!  Today we went up to Launching Place where we bought six bantam hens from a man that Ken knows from the local Poultry club.  The  new girls are really cute, and Ralph the Rooster is quite taken with them!  He didn't take any notice of his other hens once we put the new ones into the chook house - he was clucking around them once he got over the shock of having a whole new tribe to deal with!  You can see photos on my Birds in a Back yard blog.

Friday, March 06, 2015

More illness for Ken.

Ken has shingles.  He was in pain last Friday and Saturday, and he was supposed to go to the air show on Sunday but was too sick to get out of bed.  In the afternoon he showed me a rash on his back and chest and I knew straight away what it was.  I've never had it, but my Dad did, and when I was a council home carer, some of my clients had it, so I know what it looks like.  On Monday  the doctor confirmed my guess of shingles and put Ken on antiviral medicine for 7 days. He said it was just as well we consulted him in the early stages, as if shingles is left too long without treatment it can last for months or even years. I was  supposed to be on volunteer duty at the Embroiderer's Guild on Tuesday, but I really couldn't leave him alone all day. He said he would be okay,  but if it was me in so much pain I wouldn't be happy about being left on my own all day. It's more moral support, isn't it, when you aren't well. Even though you are on medication and it's just a waiting game until you start to get better, it is just nice to have your loved one with you making cups of tea and sympathetic noises.

Ken had an appointment at the Austin for his quarterly defibrillator check up on Wednesday, but when he phoned them to see if he should come in, the answer was a definite NO!  They didn't want him in the waiting room for hours with all those other sick people!  His car was due back at Mantello Holden today for another recall fixit, and he said he was feeling well enough to go.  He left at 7 am to get there by 8, and was home by 10 am.  While he was gone I whipped the sheets and pillowcases off the bed and washed them and his pyjamas in very hot water.  It was cold outside today, but very windy, so I got everything inside by lunchtime. When he got home, he was exhausted, and all he wanted to do was get undressed and back into bed, so I was glad that I'd changed the bedding in time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This month.




Been a while since I posted anything here, so I have decided to publish a catch up post.
Our front yard has been such a mess, with all the winds we’ve been having over summer.   I thought I should at least rake all the leaves and twigs up. The thought of bending over and picking up the leaves to put into the bin made me feel ill, so when I saw our neighbour about to drive off with her oldest son, I called out over the fence to ask what the younger two were doing, and if they would like to earn a bit of pocket money. She said they would and when I asked how much to pay them, and would $10 be enough, she said "More than enough!" The two boys (12 and 14 approx.) appeared within minutes bringing their own rakes and gardening gloves, and their green wheelie bin. I raked, and they scooped everything up and piled it into the two bins. The yard was cleared in about 20 minutes - I was so grateful! I had $15 and two $50 bills in my purse, so I gave them the $15 and they ran off happily! Their Mum told me later I was way too generous! but if ever we needed help again, just call out.  Ken came home from Bunnings just as the boys were leaving with their bin and rakes, and he was as pleased as I was to have the yard cleaned up. So nice to have such kind (and young and fit!) neighbours!

My niece Susan's oldest son Peter was married last weekend and we attended the wedding with about 100 other guests. The church is a modern 'hall' type Anglican church (no spire, organ, or church pews as I remember them), and it seems that people can do their own thing and set it up however they like for a wedding.  Peter  is the president of the local brass band, so they were there to provide the music. He and his new wife  Lizzie set the church up the day before, with chairs covered in fabric and a bow tied around each chair. Afternoon tea was provided after the wedding in an adjacent hall, while caterers converted the church hall into a reception room with trestles and chairs, and a spit roast. 
 Here I am with Peter and his lovely bride Lizzie.  They are both tall, and I feel like I've shrunk when I see myself in photos next to taller people!

We had opted not to stay for the reception when we accepted the invitation, but stayed until about 5 pm circulating among the rellies, most of which we hadn't seen for a few years (apart from my brothers and their wives), and it was fun to catch up with the younger members of the family who had all grown about 2 feet since we last saw them as kids! It was so hot, as there was no air conditioning, so Ken and I were glad to get home and flake out in our nice cool home (we'd left the air con running while we were out. Thank you Mr Solar!)

On Sunday afternoon we visited Ken's cousin David and his wife Yaso, who live in Clifton Hill in a terrace house that was built in 1873 or thereabouts.  They are renovating it inside, but sympathetically to it's age, and it is looking fabulous. We piled 70 baby quilts in the back of the ute and delivered them to Yaso, who works with the PNG native people, and organises the distribution of our quilts to their babies. I was so pleased to get rid of all those boxes and bags out of our spare room!  We had a lovely afternoon tea with them, and Yaso showed me some of the saris she has brought back from her last trip home to Malaysia to see her mother.  She wants me to make a quilt from the saris but I’m reluctant to cut into such beautiful silk fabrics, so I’ll take it to some patchwork groups and see what they can advise.

Ken has been selling some of his Gouldian finches and quails, which helps to make room for all the newly hatched babies.  He bought two Princess Parrots recently and they are such a change from the smaller quiet finches;  We love hearing them chortling away to each other.


We had been having a cold drink while sitting watching the birds one day recently, and Tiger jumped up on the table and knocked over my empty glass.  He looked so guilty, I had to take a photo!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Melbourne Cat Cafe.

I was in the city with Ken today. He goes to a barber in Hardware Street every six weeks, and in recent months I've been driving him in and dropping him off there. Instead of him having to find somewhere to park then possibly have to walk a long way back to the barber, which he is unable to do now because of his breathing problems, I would rather find somewhere to park, and walk back to wait for him, then go and get the car to pick him up. Anyway, that's the background to me being in town today!

 For some reason, I remembered the Cat Cafe the other day, and decided that instead of hanging around waiting for Ken, I'd drop him off then go and find the Cat Cafe, which opened last year. I'd been meaning to go there ever since, but in the end just forgot about it until now. It isn't that far from Hardware Street, so I got a park on Queen street and walked up to it within about 2 minutes. Stayed there for half an hour and walked back to pick up Ken who had just finished having his hair cut. It wasn't quite what I expected, thinking there would be an actual cafe on the premises like in other countries, but I do remember reading that the Melbourne city council arked up about food being served among the cats, and so possibly the owners lost that battle. All the cats are on the first floor in various rooms, and if you want a coffee, a member of the staff brings it up to you from the ground floor. I didn't bother about coffee, as I was going to have a coffee with Ken later, so it only cost me $5 for half an hour. The usual fee is $10 just to spend an hour there!! Thought that was a bit rich, but apparently it is booked out for months ahead. I forgot you were supposed to book, and when I walked in off the street, the guy wasn't going to let me in, but when I said I'd only want a quick look because my car was on a meter, he relented and let me go up for half price. I asked why people needed to book, and he said they only allow a certain number of people up at one time so as not to stress the cats. There were only about 6 or 8 people up there when I went up, and about 10 cats. I bought a heap of kitty souvenirs. Ken said "What did you buy all that for?" and I said because it was cute LOL! Here are some photos:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Australia Day 2015

We have been hosting Australia Day parties since we moved here 34 years ago. This year Ken and I felt too tired to do it, and one of our friends who has been to all of them, offered to host it. We had a great day - Sandra did a great job of setting up her patio with the flag on display, and Aussie themed fabrics and tablecloths on the tables. Our usual group of friends were all there, as well as another friend of Sandra's, who was willing to join in the fun with us. We sang the national anthem at the top of our voices, and Sandra's neighbour told us later on that he thought it was great to hear it sung so enthusiastically! I only took three photos, but Sandra took some too, so I'm hoping hers are more meaningful than mine - ha ha!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Got my car back, but want to trade my body in!

My dear old car is back on the road feeling as good as new.  Well, as good as a 12 year old car can feel to me.  The onboard computer has been replaced, and the mechanic who worked on it said today the car still has a lot of life in it, and he agrees with my decision to keep it going for a few more years.

Wish I could trade my body in as easily.  I've made an appointment with my doctor for the regular pap smear test next month, and I am going to ask her to refer me to a rheumatologist.  Like most of us once we hit 50 and 60 and beyond, I have had aches and pains come and go.  But in the past year, I wake up aching and got to bed aching.  And I'm so tired all the time.  I know I have osteo arthritis as well as osteopenia, both conditions confirmed by x-rays, blood tests, bone density scans, etc. and various treatments have been prescribed - Vitamin D, Panodol Osteo, osteopathy, weight bearing exercises, and TaiChi, all of which I have taken on in varying degrees.  At the clinic we go to, one of the doctors told me a few years ago that I was getting old like we all do, and to just deal with it! 

Today, my osteopath was quite worried about the state I was in.  He told Ken later it is the worst he has ever seen me.  I shuffled into his treatment room and plonked myself down in a chair.  I used to bounce up on the treatment table, and roll over on to my back or front with ease, but now it takes longer to climb up, and rolling over doesn't exist for me any more!  He asked me a few questions about exercise, diet and sleep patterns, and I had to admit that sleep is a low priority for me as there are so many things I like to do at night when it is quiet - read, sew, sit at the computer, sometimes up to 3 am.  I usually wake up between 9 and 10 am, which is fine now that we are retired, but he said I've fallen into a bad sleep pattern which probably has a lot to do with the way I'm feeling.   He asked if I drink much water and I admitted that I probably don't drink as much as I should - one or two glasses a day, and a few cups of tea or coffee.

Then he asked what exercise I do, and the answer to that is easy - none apart from neck and back stretching exercises in the mornings.   He suggested I should walk or swim.  I can't swim, so I'm not going down that track at my age!  And I used to walk a lot - every morning before work for years, and on weekends with Ken, and with friends since I retired.  But in the past year my feet and knees hurt so much if I walk any more than a block, so I don't do that either.  He asked if I'd had blood tests to see if I had rheumatoid arthritis, and I said not that I'm aware of, so he suggested I should look into that.

My priority now is to get some straight answers from an expert.  I don't want to be operated on,  I don't want to exist on pain killers for the rest of my life, and I refuse to believe that at 67, my pain is due to getting old!  But like Ken, I'm having to pace myself and cut back on some activities.  For instance this year I have decided not to host our annual Australia Day party because the thought of cleaning up the back yard and patio (both of which need a lot of work), and setting up the gazebo and other items we put up for the day, just did my head in.  And Ken is as bad as me - he doesn't have the strength or energy to do any of that work either.   So I started phoning our friends to tell them of my decision, and the first one I called said straight away "But we can't NOT do Australia Day!   I'll have it here!".  The next friend said "I'll have it at my place next year!"   Times like this you know who your friends are :-)  Such a weight off my shoulders.  Now I'm looking forward to the 26th January, with just some food preparation to do, then sit back and relax!

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